Keeping the workforce safe – new Sentinel smart cards rolled out

Posted: 16 December 2013 | | No comments yet

These smart cards offer a step-change in safety…

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With 67,000 people qualified to work trackside on Britain’s railways, keeping track of everyone and keeping them safe has never been so important.

By January 6, new Sentinel smart cards will have completely replaced the previous cards, which will no longer be accepted.

These smart cards offer a step-change in safety, as they allow for records to be instantly updated and closer monitoring of staff hours on duty.

Network Rail’s safety and sustainable development director, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “I cannot emphasise enough how important safety is to us and how committed we are to looking after the people who work with us.

“Sentinel smart cards are vital to improving our ability to do that, and they also offer a means of improving the efficiency of our operation on the ground. Being able to ensure people have the correct competences for the task will make us safer and more efficient. This is a hugely positive development for us and helps us continue to bring everyone home safe, every day.”

Previous Sentinel cards carried all competencies and other details printed on their faces, and therefore needed to be sent away for reprinting when circumstances changed. The new smart cards use an RFID chip (radio frequency identification) which can be read by card readers hooked up to a PC, and more importantly they have a QR (quick response) code on the face, which can be read by smart phone. The data read by the phone is then sent to the Sentinel data base, which responds with the details of the person whose data is held on the card.

It also means data can be updated instantly.

Mr Llewellyn added: “Our supply chain has really embraced the new card and in fact become an advocate of them. We are all working together to complete the roll-out across the country.”

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